I don’t care to belong to any club that would have me as a member. Groucho Marx was a wise man. He coined that quote in 1959, and I relate to it wholeheartedly to this day. And fortunately, I’ve surpassed the age limit to align myself with the “27 Club“, whose membership comes with the Ultimate Price. Jimi, Janis, and Jim all paid that entry fee within 10 months of each other over 40 years ago.
Brian Jones, flamboyant founder of The Rolling Stones, forgot his water wings when he went for a drug-addled dip back in 1969, and blues great Robert Johnson guzzled some tainted hooch down by the Crossroads after recording only 29 songs, allegedly poisoned by the jealous husband of a lover, incidentally founding the famed club. Only Kurt Cobain’s death of a supposed suicide in ’94 didn’t involve all of the mystery and unanswered questions surrounding Johnson, Jones, Jim, Janis, and Jimi’s early demise. Unless you factor in the Courtney Quotient. People have made a lotta money off of posing that question and pointing fingers in books and movies in the last decade and a half. Where’s the Love?
Now British singing chanteuse Amy Winehouse has secured her spot among the dead legends, although her meager discography and oeuvre don’t compare to the prolific careers of the other 6. Only 2 records, 2003’s “Frank” and 2007’s “Back to Black” were released during her brief time in the spotlight, but her authentic voice, her outlandish public persona, her “I don’t care what you think” attitude, and her Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll lifestyle more than guarantees her a spot on the bar stool in the clubhouse. The autopsy has proved “inconclusive”, and toxicology reports won’t be available for 2 to 3 weeks. A sad, but not surprising end to a promising and entertaining personality.